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Scotland approves two new blood cancer drugs

10th Jun 2024 - Edward Pinches

Two new drugs for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma have been made available by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) for use on the NHS in Scotland as a third-line treatment. Tepkinly (epcoritamab), and Columvi (glofitamab) are available for use in patients with relapsed or refractory DLBCL after two or more lines of systemic therapy.

Blood Cancer UK: Tepkinly and Columvi now available in Scotland

Previously, NICE approved Tepkinly and Columvi for use on the NHS in England and Wales for people with DLBCL who’s disease had not responded to at least two previous treatments.

DLBCL is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which develops in the lymphatic system. Around 5,500 people a year are diagnosed with this form of blood cancer in the UK. And for around 700 of those people, their disease won’t respond to two previous treatments.

Tepkinly is a drug, manufactured by Abbvie, while Columvi is manufactured by Roche. They are both bispecific antibodies designed to recognise and attach to the cancer cells and immune cells, so that the body’s immune system can destroy them.

Josh Hill, Blood Cancer UK’s Scottish policy officer said:
“Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a type of blood cancer and while most people go into remission after standard treatment, some people can see their cancer return or stop responding to treatment."

Today’s decision by the SMC to approve epcoritamab and glofitamab for use on the NHS in Scotland is a welcome step for many."

- Josh Hill, Blood Cancer UK's Scottish Policy Officer

“Like many that experience blood cancer, people with relapsed or refractory DLBCL experience anxiety around the prospect of not responding to treatment or the cancer once again returning. Advances in bispecifics is set to be an active area of research and drug development in coming years.”

Dr Andrejs Ivanovs, consultant haematologist at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre, said:
“The clinical evidence from drug trials using bispecific antibodies including epcoritamab and glofitamab is positive. These drugs are incredibly useful as they’re available ‘off-the-shelf’ meaning drugs can be used without delay for lymphoma patients who did not have a lot of success with other treatments. Bispecific antibody treatments usually do not require a hospital admission and can be administered in day units and can achieve response in about 50-60% of patients. This is likely to prolong survival rates for people with blood cancer here in Scotland, and that’s exactly what people with blood cancer deserve.”

What does Aileen Lamb, from Edinburgh who had blood cancer think?

“As someone who's been through blood cancer treatment, I am thrilled that the SMC have given full approval for use of epcoritamab and glofitamab to treat diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in Scotland. This is important for the whole blood cancer community and gives us hope for our future."

Women smiling

Aileen Lamb, from Edinburgh whose now in remission from blood cancer


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